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Psychophysiology. 2012 Mar;49(3):312-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2011.01315.x. Epub 2011 Dec 16.

Listening to "flying ducks": individual differences in sentence-picture verification investigated with ERPs.

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Institut für Psychologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Münster, Germany.


The present ERP study investigated individual differences in the integration of verbal descriptions and visual object representations. Participants saw pictures of objects (e.g., a swimming duck) after listening to noun phrases describing the same object in the identical state, a shape-mismatching state ("flying duck"), or an incongruent object (e.g., "sliced bread"). Individual differences in the vividness of mental imagery and preference for mental imagery were assessed after the experiment. ERP effects of context arose 170 ms after picture onset, differentiating the incongruent-object context from the other two. The N400 mirrored these context effects. Self-rated vividness of imagery affected responses to pictures already after 100 ms, and modulated the N400 effect. Participants with highly vivid imagery showed larger context effects than participants low in imagery. The context effects at 170 ms were not modulated by individual differences.

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